In a long hall of the Government College of Technology for Women, Karimabad, students sat in small groups and were in deep thought. At each table, people from the corporate sector helped them brainstorm a business plan, design a logo and present their companies in less than 50 minutes.
“These girls are coming up with their business proposals in only minutes – this normally takes businessmen days,” said a beaming Muhammad Khalil, who had flown in from Jordan for the event. “We are making them ready to enter the market.”
The event, an Initiative Camp was organised by Injaz Pakistan, an initiative of the Aman Foundation, to teach students how to run a business firsthand.
Under Injaz Pakistan, training workshops regarding business challenges were being held for diploma students from middle-income colleges and schools. “We are preparing these girls for challenges they might face in the future when setting up businesses,” explained Khalil. While he has also trained boys, he found girls to be sincere and involved towards the training session.
Injaz’s Executive Director, Azra Maqsood said that the training was focusing on three types of curriculum – financial literary, entrepreneurship and work readiness. “People from the corporate sector are asked to be involved so that they can prepare students who don’t get opportunity to meet such people frequently.” Around 10 volunteers from the corporate sector were imparting business training.
Engrossed in planning, Fatima Aijaz was thoroughly enjoying the workshop. A student of architecture, Aijaz and her friends were making a proposal on how they could educate poor children. “The under-privileged are keen to study,” she said. “We are coming up with a proposal in which they will get free education.”
Karachi Electric Supply Company’s GM media Ameenur Rehman, helped them and said that he was delighted by the excitement and energy of the girls.
Habib Bank Limited’s Sarah Huda felt that the students were brilliant and more talented than business students. “They don’t have the opportunity or guidance, and that’s why we are here to help them polish their innovative ideas,” she said. On her table, students such as Aiman Shahzad said that they were proposing an online software to conductscourses for virtual universities and offer diploma courses online. She added that they wanted people to have easy access to education.
Students who had participated in the previous workshop came back to encourage their fellow students. “We have come to cheer them on,” said Shaista, a diploma student. Her business proposal to teach housewives to be smart computer users won second prize in the last workshop. “Such trainings are important and should be held frequently so we know what challenges we will face when we enter the field,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2012.